Jesse Selchow’s new company born from tie-dye dreams.
In the chaos and idleness that quarantine can bring, many people have utilized newfound time to turn their hobbies into businesses. My friend Jesse Selchow is one of them, who has been transforming vintage finds into up-cycled tie-dye pieces. I sat down with Stevies General Store‘s CEO Jesse Selchow to learn more about how she turned her passion for tie-dye into a business over the past few months.
Jesse, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hi! I’m Jesse. I grew up in the midwest with hippie parents, so tie-dye was something I saw a lot of when I was a kid. I have worked in the fashion industry for over ten years, and have dabbled in everything from styling to model casting, to eventually becoming an event producer for luxury brands.
How did Stevies General Store start and why recycled clothing turned tie-dye chic?
I have always had a love for vintage! With the world in its current state, no one is doing events so I found myself with extra time on my hands. I started brainstorming how I could combine my enthusiasm for hunting recycled clothing with a new hobby of tie-dye and turn it into a creative outlet.
Personally, has starting this business helped you to manage the COVID-19 quarantine currently present throughout the United States?
Definitely. It has been a blessing to find the feeling of productivity, even amongst the chaos surrounding the world. Keeping busy was really important for me to stay sane.
What is something you look for when finding clothing to recycle and revamp?
I have an affinity for 80’s era clothing, especially when I am looking to up-cycle. I always thought the retro 80’s graphics were really cool, and turning that into something new has been exciting.
What has been the most unexpected challenge in starting your e-commerce Instagram business?
The most unexpected challenge has definitely been the time it took to get the style and aesthetic of the brand ready to show the world. The possibilities are endless when identifying your style and, to me, continuity is the most important part of a brand.
What has been the most fun part of starting your new business?
Experimenting with colors and dying techniques has been really fun, especially on vintage items that already have a certain style to them. Surprisingly, I also found enjoyment doing the photoshoots for Instagram. I hate having my photo taken, however, we managed to find a playful way to do it that made it feel like I’m not taking myself too seriously which is ultimately what the overall project is about.
What new skills have you learned in starting Stevies General Store?
I have learned a lot of tie-dye techniques that I had never tried before and lately I started experimenting with ice dying which I am going to focus on for home goods such linen napkins and placemats.
Last question, if you could tie-dye any clothing piece- from past, present, future, you name it- what would it be?
I would love to die a vintage gown- ideally an organza or taffeta dress with big sleeves and a bow. Probably a vintage Yves Saint Laurent or Valentino from the 70’s or 80’s.
Ever wonder what it is like to be a business attorney? Well, now you know.
When asking Dayne Brown about her experience as a business attorney, I thought it best we start at the very beginning: how she ended up sitting down to take the LSAT in the first place.
Dayne first mentioned that she always wanted to work in book publishing and moved from her home in Seattle, Washington to New York, New York to start her first career working for Oxford University Press. Dayne specialized in historical non-fiction while working at Oxford University Press for four years, earning $30,300 a year. Even in 2007, this was barely enough to get by in New York City. When her apartment got bed bugs (eep!) that wouldn’t leave, Dayne found herself stuck. She had no savings and she did not have enough money to move out of her apartment and replace all of her things, so she was forced to move back home to Seattle. Before bedbugs, Dayne had been reluctantly exploring other careers that might provide a more sustainable livelihood. Fortunately, one of her friends (a former NYC public school teacher) was in his last year of law school at Columbia at that time and was quite candid about his move into law. He shared the fact that he would be earning a six-figure income right immediately upon graduation. However, he also mentioned this sort of position was really only available to people who attend one of the top ten law schools in the nation. Admission at those schools is based almost entirely on the applicant’s Law School Admissions Test, or LSAT, score. Dayne then spent hours during her lunch breaks, on weekends, and in the evenings self-tutoring to take the LSAT. When she received her score, Dayne knew that she would likely receive admission to at least one of the top schools, and she ended up attending The University of Chicago’s Law School.
While attending The University of Chicago, Dayne soon realized that she was more interested in business law as opposed to other forms of law such as litigation. Dayne was more passionate about the collaboration that working in business law involved. She noted that, often in business matters, lawyers are interested in helping achieve what is in the best interest of everyone, while litigation is often a zero-sum game.
Having worked in business law for six years, Dayne is currently an associate at a large law firm, Cooley LLP, that specializes in representing high-growth technology and life sciences companies. Dayne’s clients are most often pre-revenue and raising capital from venture capital funds that specialize in early-stage investments. Dayne has worked on many private financing deals as well as biotech initial public offerings, or IPOs. She also assists her early-stage clients with corporate governance, employment, and equity compensation issues.
For Dayne, a typical workday involves checking her email first thing in the morning in order to gauge the business of her day. On a busy day when she is involved in a couple of active deals, Dayne might receive more than 200 emails. The volume of email traffic is a result of her role as a filter, both for information that needs to flow upward to partners and downward to paralegals and junior associates. Dayne first answers the most urgent emails and then often spends an hour or two on client calls and in administrative meetings. In the afternoon, Dayne drafts documents, provides feedback on the work product of more junior attorneys, and she might have a call or two with opposing counsel. Most days, Dayne is able to take a couple of hours off in the evening to spend with her young children. Dayne then usually gets back online at around 8:30 pm to finish any outstanding projects and to correspond with clients, partners, and associates.
Another aspect of Dayne’s work is finding clients for Cooley. One way to do this is through a strong social media presence, for instance through LinkedIn, her personal bio on the firm’s website, speaking on panels, and participating in networking events. Thus far, however, Dayne has been most successful in acquiring clients who are also personal friends. Even when they aren’t friends first, Dayne’s client relationships often last for years as she and the other attorneys she works with will support a company as it grows and its legal needs become more complex.
A typical venture financing deal that she works on takes about three to six weeks and involves a relatively small investment (usually between $2 and $10 million). Mergers and acquisitions, or M&A, deals typically take six to twelve weeks because of the higher level of due diligence that is required, and an IPO takes about six to nine months.
Dayne notes that the most challenging part of her work is getting to the right answer in an efficient manner. Many of Dayne’s clients expect her to be an expert in the specific law and technicalities of their field. Dayne mentions that it can be challenging to become familiar with the specifics of each deal, work on the legalities of the deal, and communicate this effectively to the client, and fast. Her clients pay on an hourly basis, which makes executing a deal in a timely manner for these companies very important. Associates on Dayne’s level are responsible for transforming a three-page term sheet–which outlines the principle agreement between parties–into a hundred pages of documents that lay out the specifics of what is being agreed upon. This ties into the greatest misconception that Dayne believes people have about lawyers–that lawyers are made to throw up roadblocks to hinder their progress. As Dayne highlights, lawyers are there to assist growing businesses to thrive and prosper in the most effective, efficient, and legal (of course!) way.
Dayne views the healthcare industry as being ripe for disruption, which is why it has become one area of focus for her. Helping people bring their ideas to the world is what Dayne has become passionate about and what she believes makes her work compelling. Dayne represents companies that are looking to solve some of the world’s toughest problems in innovative ways, which makes her work incredibly engaging.
Her advice for anyone looking to attend law school? Dayne mentions that it will definitely be helpful to know why, specifically, you want to go to law school. For example, it is good to know whether you want to become a public defender or are leaning toward M&A transactions. Additionally, considering law school is such a capital intensive decision, you want to make sure that your investment will be worth it! Dayne advises that, if you want a job at a firm, you spend a lot of time studying for the LSAT; your LSAT score will determine if you are able to go to a reputable school and therefore have a better chance of getting a job in a law firm afterward. Graduating from second, third, and fourth-tier law schools often result in not even close to the same opportunities at firms as top tier schools, resulting in a lot of underemployed law school graduates. One tip for deciding where to go to law school is to look at the school’s post-graduate employment statistics and also some of the places that graduates from these schools are employed at. This will provide an idea of the kinds of opportunities that you will be exposed to upon graduation.
If you are interested in becoming a lawyer, I hope that you take the time to consider some of Dayne’s wealth of professional advice. If you haven’t ever considered it, never rule law out completely, you never know when and where the law bug may bite!
All of the strategies Jake Heller and I have used for effective fundraising.
Fundraising can often raise a lot of emotions; fear, apprehension, excitement, and anxiety to name a few. Bottom line: fundraising can be challenging. Yet, given that there are more charitable organizations, projects, businesses, and relief efforts that need funding now more than ever, I thought that it might be helpful to collaborate with a friend of mine, Jake Heller, on how he and I have gone about raising money for the projects that we are passionate about. With the right tools, I believe that anyone can bring their ideas to life. Now, you will have those tools too!
A Little Bit About Us
Jake Heller and No Kid Hungry
Upon moving back home to Northern California as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jake found that he needed new outlets for his time and energy and soon rediscovered his love for outdoor cycling. After a couple of months of daily cycling, Jake knew he needed to do a fundraiser, and contemplated how he would accomplish this. To get people interested in the event and the organization, Jake was convinced it would have to be something special and uniquely challenging. It was then that he decided to fundraise for a triathlon. Jake found some friends who had experience training for triathlons on college teams and soon began training with them. These friends helped push and support him throughout his journey. Jake decided to donate the proceeds from his fundraising efforts to No Kid Hungry, which provides meals to children in need. Child hunger is something Jake felt was often overlooked, especially when he found out that in a normal year, according to the USDA, more than 11 million children in the United States live in “food insecure” homes. In 2020, due to COVID 19 and schools being closed, this number could be closer to 18 million children. With a worthy cause in mind, Jake had a plan to make a difference.
Ursula Dedekind and Like a Florentine
When I was a senior in high school, I was required by my school to conduct a senior study project during the month of May. I contemplated many different ideas but knew that I wanted to do something interesting, something life-changing. I landed on the idea of spending one month in Florence, Italy, taking cooking classes, and learning about traditional Florentine cooking. However, when I thought more about the idea, the unavoidable stood in my way. How was I going to fund this trip? It would have been easy to simply ask my parents to pay for the majority of the trip. But, I knew I would not be taking complete ownership of the project if I did this. Instead, I decided to start a Kickstarter campaign in order to learn the valuable skill of fundraising and how to personally advocate for myself.
Choosing a Platform
Jake chose Go Fund Me and liked that the only fee taken from the platform is through donations from donors, which he knew would help maximize his impact. Jake also knew it was a platform people trusted, the money from donors goes straight to the organization, and he didn’t want any chance of money being lost or people thinking he was messing with any donations.
I decided to go with Kickstarter because I knew that it was a reputable and well-established platform that had high traffic because of the dynamic companies and projects that were often posted on their site. Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter has hosted close to 186,000 successfully funded projects and has raised $5.2 billion dollars in pledge money from 18 million people. It is important to keep in mind, however, that Kickstarter takes 5% of total funds raised with an additional 3% + $0.20 per pledge.
Setting a Fundraising Goal
Jake first picked $1,000 as his fundraising goal, but, after such a successful first day of fundraising, he doubled it to $2,000. Jake wanted his contribution to have an impact, but also wanted it to be attainable and an amount where people felt that their donation would have an impact- a win-win situation.
My fundraising amount of $6,350 came from a budget that I had created for the expenses of my trip. I factored in my flight, Airbnb, cooking classes, and even the portion of the fundraising that would be taken from Kickstarter to reach my desired amount.
At first, Jake thought “If you build it they will come,” however, most of his donations came through reaching out to friends and family. Jake notes that networking was the most impactful for helping to reach his goal. All of his donations were from people Jake knew personally or from the families of people he knew personally. To attract donors, one of the first things Jake made sure he wanted to emphasize throughout his fundraising was, “Why this organization, and why this organization now?” He stresses the fact that picking the right partner and having good reasons behind the partner you choose will set your fundraising efforts up for success. The organization he chose, No Kid Hungry, is already close to Jake’s heart because it works to make sure all kids in America have healthy and accessible meals, but especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, this cause is more important than ever. Next, he wanted to share, “Why me?” People want a fundraiser they know will be successful or at least get close to the goal. Showing people he was serious about both fundraising and completing the triathlon was hugely important. Part of Jake showing how serious he was about the project was adding as many updates as he could to keep his audience informed. He was training every day and wanted people to understand he would not stop until “game day”.
Like Jake, I did a considerable amount of texting, calling, and emailing friends and family to support my project. The more personal and intentional that I made my outreach, the more willing others were in lending a hand. It also helped that I had expressed an interest in cooking and baking throughout my life, baking cakes for friend’s birthdays and meals for guests in our home. I also found that providing rewards for certain pledge amounts helped to incentivize some of my backers. For example, if you pledged $100 or more you would be receiving a cookbook that I would be creating and publishing upon my return, which 24 people were rewarded. I also included a reward for pledging $300 or more, with the reward being a private Italian cooking class with myself, the menu for this lesson being custom-tailored to their liking, which 2 people received. Although the point of fundraising is to give without receiving anything in return, sometimes it is nice to get a small perk for your generosity.
The Biggest Challenges
The biggest challenge Jake encountered was tapping out a lot of his friends too early on in the process. Jake thought he would have gained a bit more traction, raising the $2,000 easily. He also identified the fact that there were many other amazing fundraisers going on at the time he was fundraising, which made it hard to cut through some of the noise. That being said, Jake’s plan is to complete another triathlon as soon as it is both safe and when his body is able to reach that goal!
For me, personally, the biggest challenge I encountered during my fundraising process was “the ask”. Reaching out to friends, family, friends of friends- anyone I could think of- felt really daunting to me, a young senior in high school. It was easier for me to think about all of the things that were embarrassing or disappointing, rather than thinking about outreach as throwing darts at a dartboard, you only need to pay attention to the ones that stick. When it came to crunch time in the end, I learned to put my hesitation aside and really go for anyone I could think of to put out the ask. And it paid off!
For Jake, having the support of so many of his friends definitely helped to motivate him. Knowing he was swimming, biking, and running for a cause was a huge motivator. Jake knew people were counting on him, and he was not going to let them down!
I can definitely say that when you look at a fundraising number that is as large as $2,000 to over $6,000, it is easy to get discouraged at the beginning- “How am I going to pull this off?” Yet, you will never know unless you try and, as Jake experienced, if you don’t hit your number the first time, it is totally OK to creatively think about other ways to reach your target. The important thing to keep in mind before any fundraising is the why question. Like Jake and I, you want to be passionate about why you are raising money. When the going gets tough, the answer to this question will help you be resilient and push forward towards your goal.
Jake never thought he would become a triathlete, donating thousands of dollars towards a good cause, and I never would have thought that my dream of studying cooking in Florence could become a reality. What makes Jake and I different from you? Nothing really. I hope our stories serve as inspiration for you to get outside of your comfort zone, believe the impossible, and take that first step in asking others to join in building something with you. You never know where the journey will take you and who will come along for the ride.
Help Jake Reach His Goal!
Donate to Jake’s Go Fund Me, where all of the proceeds will go directly to No Hungry Kid.
Italic is a company that has been taking e-commerce by storm recently, so it’s no surprise that the company has been getting a lot of buzz from media outlets like Fast Company, Business Insider, and Men’s Health. Italic is approaching direct to consumer buying, customer interactions, and brand management in unique ways, which sets it apart from other direct to consumer companies such as Warby Parker and Glossier.
Italic first launched in 2018 by Jeremy Cai, who started the company after receiving a Thiel Fellowship and $100,000, which required him to drop out of college, move to San Francisco, and pursue starting his company for two years. Italic differentiates itself within the retail industry, given its promise of wholesale prices from the same manufacturers as designer brands without any markups, an idea worth $13 million in venture capital funding. The company features over 800 luxury items for incredibly low prices, a sure disruption- or at least a rude awakening- for consumers who are used to spending an arm and a leg for almost an identical Prada bag. Italic plays a crucial role in unveiling the high margins that luxury brands are making a huge profit from. However, brand logos and trademark patterns do have their place in retail, given consumer culture’s desire for easily recognized designer items to flaunt to the world. Luxury brands like Goyard, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci have become extremely successful on this very premise. Yet, what about purchasing on the basis of pure quality?
There is no doubt that consumers are doing more research as to where their products are coming from, company sustainability efforts, fair labor practices, and product durability. A longer-lasting, high-quality product has become more of a priority to today’s consumer, allowing for Italic to fill a void in the marketplace- moderately priced, high-value items with full transparency. To Italic, it’s all about style, function, and quality, which Italic is surely delivering and without the price tag.
Considering current trends in consumer behavior, Italic is incredibly smart for making the core of its mission very transparent to its consumer. According to McKinsey’s ‘True Gen’: Generation Z and its implications for companies report, Gen Z consumers “increasingly expect brands to ‘take a stand’” when it comes to brand ethos. The consumer report specifies that it has found that a brand would benefit from choosing “specific topics (or causes) that make sense for a brand and its consumers and to have something clear to say about those particular issues. In a transparent world, younger consumers don’t distinguish between the ethics of a brand, the company that owns it, and its network of partners and suppliers”. For Italic, transparency is so key, which makes its side by side comparison of prices, and highlighting the high-end brands that use its same manufacturers refreshing and alluring. To shoppers, it is evident that Italic takes a clear stance.
Italic’s close connection to its customers also makes the company stand out. It was only the other day that I was scrolling through Instagram when I found a post from Italic asking “What products do you want us to develop?” with a flurry of responses underneath from Italic fans asking for everything from skincare to furniture. This is just one example of how the company’s openness and eagerness for consumer input have allowed Italic to grow and thrive among the crowded e-commerce marketplace. I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to see what Italic comes up with next.
You can get in on all of the retail therapy Italic has to offer by purchasing a monthly subscription for $8.33 per month, adding up to just $100 a year. It is also worth noting that more than 90% of Italic’s customers breakeven on their first order- the best deal of 2020 I’ve seen so far. So, what are you waiting for? The future of fashion is calling.
Here are some of my favorite items Italic is selling right now:
There is a well known saying that goes “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with;” if only the same applied to my makeup bag- I’d have one incredible collection then! My friends have been an unlimited source of beauty knowledge and tips to me. Having spent so much time around them, I began asking myself questions like “do I need a jade roller?”, “should I switch to a silk pillowcase?”, and even “do I need a Sephora rewards account?”, thoughts I never considered would have ever crossed my mind. Where would I be without them!? Probably severely unmoisturized at this point. Lucky for you I have pulled together three more friends and three more favorites for you to check out! (Stay tuned next week for three more friends and three more finds!)
Every time I need my dark circles and the scars on my face covered. My makeup is incomplete without this.
What you like about the product
It has excellent coverage and can cover the darkest of spots and discoloration with very little product. A little goes a long way as it has great pigmentation. It does not dry the skin too much and also provides extra SPF. I feel like this is the only concealer that hides my extremely dark circles without giving it an ashy look.
How you found it
I started using this first year of college, I found about this trick in a MAC store in Hyderabad, India the makeup artist told me to always use different concealer colours for my dark circles and my spots, which has been a game-changer. He recommended I use a reddish undertone pot concealer for my under eyes and a yellowish undertone pot concealer for scars on my face. I have been doing this since and I love it.
I have been using this product for the past 5 years. I have dry and chapped lips in general but since I have started using Carmex, my lips have become softer. It does not have a strong smell and it is not at all sticky.
How you found it
I’ve heard about it before and just wanted to try it out once. I have been using it to this day.
Finding the right mascara for you can be tricky! But this one felt good to apply and looked really nice as well. And I received a lot of compliments on my eyes once I started wearing it!
How you found it
My Aunt actually gifted me the travel-sized mascara and it was at a time when I had run out of mine. I used it for many 1-2 months and received several compliments. I had to stock up on more immediately!
Finding a good bathing suit can be tough. Finding a sustainably made one can be even tougher. That is where Tiller Swim comes in. All of the swimsuits made by Tiller are made out of sustainable, fully regenerated nylon and are reversible. Yes- you are hearing me correctly- Tiller is giving you a sustainable, two for one deal on swimsuits in this summer’s most flattering styles. I sat down with CEO of Tiller Swim, Kathleen Sheppard to give you some exclusive insights as to how her company came to be and what the future has in store for all you Tiller fans.
Kathleen, tell us about yourself!
I graduated from Babson College where I concentrated in entrepreneurship and marketing. After graduating, I started working in advertising for a Boston-based media company, while simultaneously beginning the early stages of Tiller. After dabbling with brand ideas for a couple of years in school, I began more seriously planning for launch once I began working full-time and ultimately launched Tiller in April 2019 with a Kickstarter campaign. I’ve since moved to Los Angeles, California, where I still work full-time in media while running Tiller.
What was the inspiration behind Tiller Swim?
I grew up by the water, spending the majority of my time sailing and swimming competitively, and ultimately teaching and coaching both, so I’ve always had an affinity for spending time in and around the ocean. Since my time in water was spent doing activities in a swimsuit, I wanted to create swimwear that was high quality, versatile, comfortable, and actually good looking (easier said than done!). Once I started designing the suits and looking into production, I couldn’t help but be disgusted with the woes of the fashion industry. Not only are people working in fashion being exploited for their labor in horribly unsafe working conditions and barely making enough money to survive, but the fashion industry is one of the top contributors to waste and pollution. It wasn’t even a choice for me to center Tiller around sustainability- it was definitely an obligation. Tiller now prioritizes the treatment of people and the planet in everything that we do and plan to continue innovating our processes and partnerships now and in the future.
What has been the biggest challenge in starting your company?
The biggest challenge is that there’s absolutely no playbook for starting and running a company (especially right out of school!)- every brand or organization is 100% unique and no two experiences are alike. Because of this, any advice and “how to’s” need to be taken with a grain of salt, something that may work for someone else may not work for Tiller (and vice versa)! With that said, running a one-man show with no previous experience is so rewarding and every experience is a learning opportunity.
There are tons of other women’s swimsuit companies that pop up on the marketplace every day. What makes Tiller Swim stand out?
Tiller currently uses recycled materials in our swimsuits, which is something that is still overlooked by many other swimwear brands to this day. Some people have a tainted image of recycled clothing, but our fabrics will definitely change your mind about any preconceptions- they are super high quality and buttery soft but hold their shape to be the most flattering. Additionally, almost all of Tiller’s suits are reversible, which allows for multiple ways of wearing each piece, ultimately extending the life of all of our products.
What was the motivation behind creating suits out of sustainable ECONYL® thread and that are reversible?
Ultimately the best way to be a sustainable consumer is to not be a consumer at all, but we’re helping to be the next best thing. ECONYL® thread is fully regenerated nylon that has been broken down to its original state. It is created from things like abandoned fishing nets, post-consumer goods, industrial carpeting and plastic bottles, so it’s allowing for fewer resources to be used in the creation of our fabrics while simultaneously cleaning up landfills and oceans. As for the reversible designs, this is our way of extending the life and usability of each piece. Looking for a staple suit? We’ve got you covered- the first side is a solid timeless color. Trying to stand out and be completely unique? Also got you here- the second side is a unique and fun print! Best of both worlds.
Is it hard to find manufacturers and partners that align with your mission of sustainability and giving back?
It is extremely hard to find people to work with that align with sustainability and being conscious members of the industry. With that said, awareness of sustainable productions and operations is on the rise and it seems that production facilities and partners are waking up to this huge realization that change starts with us and it starts like…right now.
What is your advice for consumers who are looking to make more informed and sustainable decisions in purchasing?
Do the research and start with the small steps! In the beginning, it feels impossible to start living more consciously, but once you know what to look for it gets easier. Transparency is a huge tell of sustainability so reach out to brands and ask questions (FAQs, email, Instagram DM, any form of communication works!). If a brand is willing to share how and where a piece was made and what it is made from, that’s a great start. Some have a “Sustainability” or “Transparency” section of their site which can really help as well. Breaking it down even further, you should learn what fabrics are good and bad. Main rules: natural fibers are the best for clothing and recycled or repurposed for swimwear and activewear. If you can’t abide by those two rules, then really think about how the piece you’re buying will serve you. Ask yourself:
Is this good quality/will it last me a long time?
Will it serve a purpose that something I already own would not?
Would I be able to resell it once it no longer serves me?
Was it made in a responsible manner (i.e. sustainable, good treatment of workers, etc)
If you cannot answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you’re just buying something to buy something. This is usually a good indication that you should keep moving honey!
What does the future of Tiller Swim look like?
The main initiative we’re focusing on is shifting to using biodegradable fabrics (and no it will not biodegrade on your body). This is something that we’re passionate about to reduce our footprint and negative impact even more, so look out for that in 2021! Additionally, we’ll be expanding into some other product lines later in 2020 (i,e. clothing, accessories, upcycled pieces) to give you a reason to shop with us all year round.
And, just for fun, what is your favorite suit that Tiller sells?
Oof, this is a tough one! I’m pretty obsessed with the new Topanga Top & Surfside Bottom in Sky & Swirl reversible, but my tried & true go-to is definitely the Laguna Top & Lido Bottom (really in any color, it’s so flattering and just the perfect swimsuit!).
Laguna Top and Lido Bottom (left), Topanga Top and Surfside Bottom (right)
Does finance jargon seem like a foreign language? Is investing meant for “other people”? After reading Leonardo’s new book, you might change your mind.
There is no getting around it, investing and finance language can be complicated. Yet, writing a book explaining it sounds nearly impossible! Nevertheless, a fellow Babson classmate of mine and an exchange student from Bocconi University, which ranks 3rd in Europe for Business and Management, has just written a book titled All You Need to Know About Investing Short and Simple. His goal? To help everyone understand investing or, as Leonard refers to it, the “planet” of the confusing and complex.
First off, tell us a little bit about yourself, the author!
Hi Ursula! I was raised in Milan where I studied Finance at Bocconi University. During my last semester, I exchanged at Babson College in the States, now I live in Dublin where I work for Credit Agricole.
What was the inspiration behind writing a book about investing?
Well, I feel the financial world is perceived like another planet from those that are not on it, a planet of suited professionals speaking another language. But if you look closely at this planet, it is not as complex as it seems, at all. I thought that by simplifying the language, I could create a bridge between the real world and the financial world, helping many that might want (or need for investing purposes) to know more about it. That’s why I decided to write this book.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing a book aiming to simplify the complex language of finance?
Avoiding the use of sectorial but more precise terms, preferring more common words in order to be understood by more people. Simplicity requires common terms.
What are the core issues people find most confusing about investments and investing?
It links to the previous question, sectorial terms. These terms are a way for financial professionals to express precise ideas, to communicate more efficiently and rapidly among themselves, but sometimes these words are too exaggerated, scaring those that are outside. But again, if you look closer, the ideas under these words are actually easy to understand.
When the market does take a turn, as it had a few months ago, what is your investing perspective and advice?
For long term investors like me, market downturns are a good thing, we actually wait for them to buy. But the last turn was not enough, prices on the stock market are still too high because of ow-interest rates and because of pushing up forces coming from index investing.
What is your view on increasing global debt?
This is a great question. We are at the end of a macro debt cycle, we should see big changes from this point of view over the next years, especially from Central Banks, they have to address this issue.
What advice would you give to young adults to ensure they will have a bright financial future?
Do not think short term, unless you are an insider trader (just kidding, insider trading is not legal). Think long term instead, for three reasons: compounded interest rate effect, inflation and transaction fees cost.
Whenever I look into my makeup bag I am amazed by how many products I have accumulated over the years, having only started wearing makeup just three years ago. When I think about each product I own, it is hard not to think of the friend that recommended it, which is why I never enter a Sephora sans friend in-tow. Some of my best memories in college are from getting ready before a birthday party or night out, when my friends and I shared makeup tips and glittery palettes. Undoubtedly, my favorite beauty finds have been because I had admired a lip gloss on a friend or an eye shadow on another. My friends have been a much-needed window for me into the beauty industry and have taught me almost everything I know about different products and brands, which is why I have recruited some of mine to share their favorites. (Stay tuned next week for three more friends and three more finds!)
Almost every day (although would not recommend wearing it these days since it sticks to your mask)
What you like about the product
I think lip gloss can elevate your whole look- it’s so effortless and it makes your skin look more hydrated! I have different ones for different purposes: the Glossier Lipgloss in Red is perfect for daily wear, it has just the right amount of color and doesn’t feel sticky. The Kiko Milano 3D Hydra Lipgloss in Clear is really good to wear for a night out because it lasts a long time and also kind of makes your lips look more 3D? This shade is also really fun and is super easy to wear. Lastly Tower 28 Beauty ShineOn Lip Jelly in Chill, which is the most soothing and non-sticky lip gloss ever. It’s actually a combination of a lip gloss and a moisturizing lip treatment so it feels amazing on your lips.
How you found it
Mostly through trial and error, these three are the ones I have purchased again and again!
Mostly for special occasions, parties, and night outs
What you like about the product
It literally does not move, fade, or smudge off of your eyelids once you have it on and comes off easily with any makeup remover. The shades are also super pigmented and bright which is rare for an eyeshadow. My favorite shade is “rave” because it looks so good on brown eyes! I also love that it’s a cream formula so there’s no fallout to clean up 🙂
How you found it
I randomly bought my sister one of them in the shade “after-party” and she really liked it. She bought “rave” and “sesh” and I loved how they looked.
Really depends on whether or not I’m going to be wearing mascara that day or not. Usually, I use this for a night out, parties, or whenever I want to be a little extra!
What you like about the product
I use it before I apply my mascara- it basically coats your eyelashes so that when you use mascara your eyelashes look 10x thicker! It makes a huge difference and it almost looks like you’re wearing false eyelashes. I also love this product because sometimes I use it as a brow gel. It has a much stronger hold than a lot of other brow gels and is perfect for styling your brows.
How you found it
I was actually trying to buy the L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara because I heard that it was a really good dupe for the Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara. I got distracted by something or the other and accidentally put the primer in my cart.
It might sound a bit aggressive but I absolutely HATE SKINCARE that leaves a sticky feeling. I was desperate for a serum that was light and absorbed fast and this serum not only was that but also kept my face clean throughout the summer. Summer is definitely a tricky season when it comes to both makeup and skincare. The heat, humidity, and pollution (if you live in a city) are the perfect combo to enlarge your pores. This product was ideal for before and after a long day of makeup. Light, smells good, and no sticky feeling! Plus this product has salicylic acid and it helped me get rid of my whiteheads. A side note: Sephora sells it but its almost double the price they sell it in Europe. So if you are planning to visit France or other European countries, picking a few up at the duty-free would be ideal!
How you found it
When I was in Paris my skin was not doing well. My makeup looked uneven and had whiteheads. When this happens, instead of reaching for a primer or a physical exfoliator, I reach for a chemical exfoliator. I looked up some pharmacy-beauty brands, this one popped up!
I’ve been a fan of Sabon body scrub for about eight years now! I’ve struggled with chicken skin on my legs after shaving but this product was effective yet so gentle. It has dead sea salt with these oils that smell heavenly and is so moisturizing. Rose tea scent was my original favorite but the citrus blossom is my new fav! On a lazy weekend where I want to have a relaxing morning, I’d use this in my shower and I feel like I’m laying in the middle of the orange tree field. (Yes I am exaggerating but that’s how much I like it)
How you found it
I walked by a Sabon shop in Soho eight years ago and it smelled so good I found myself at the counter handing over my credit card.
The hold on the product is amazing! So I have my brows micro bladed but I always fill in roughly. But my natural brows are shaped a bit oddly at the ends and are trimmed short. But this product was a game-changer. Few swipes and it help my brows have texture and fuller shape. Korea is super rainy nowadays and since we always wear masks, I just throw on this product, a mascara, tinted lip balm and I’m out the door!
How you found it
Recommendation from a Sephora employee (boy do I miss U.S. Sephora)
I use it every day, twice daily (morning and evening) along with my 5-step skincare routine
What you like about the product
Everything, from the texture to the results I’ve seen over the past two years. It’s perfect to moisturize the delicate skin around the eyes and almost immediately hides the fine lines. Over time I’ve noticed my dark circles have become much lighter and less noticeable.
How you found it
I found out about it at Kiehl’s in London about two years ago when I had gone into a store to ask for a whole skincare routine for my skin. The results have been amazing and I’ve been loyal to them ever since!
I use it whenever I have to go out and put makeup on.
What you like about the product
I think it has great coverage and really brightens my under eyes, furthermore, unlike other concealers I’ve tried, it doesn’t clump and build up in my fine lines – which makes me look older and more tired.
How you found it
I found out about it a year ago in a Sephora store in Paris, one of the beauty consultants recommended it as a change to my previous Laura Mercier one.
How Julian Parra racked up over 80,000 followers on TikTok giving career advice.
My friend Julian Parra has always been one of my go-to people in terms of who I get career advice from. Having worked in the Center for Career Development at our college and having navigated the job circuit to land a position at IBM, Julian has both incredible professional and life experience to draw from. Recently, he created a TikTok channel to share some of his advice, which has accumulated over 80,000 followers. I sat down with Julian to understand a little bit more about how he built a social media empire around his passion for helping others professionally.
So Julian, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Sure thing Ursula! So I was born and raised in Hawthorne, NJ, I’m a recent graduate from Babson College, and I’m currently an Offering Manager at IBM.
How did you first come up with the idea to start a TikTok channel giving professional and personal development advice?
I first found out about TikTok in December 2019, and immediately, I was super interested in how the TikTok algorithm worked. The app is engineered for virality and users who may not have many followers can have videos blow up on the app. At Babson, I was a Peer Career Ambassador at Babson’s Center for Career Development for three years, and in my role, I met with many students a semester to help with resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, and all things career development. This experience solidified my passion for personal and career development and mentorship, so while I was in quarantine, I decided to combine my two interests in social media content creation and career development and starting posting on TikTok!
How have you worked on growing your following?
I first focused on the career-development niche and consistently posted at least one TikTok a day related to that. I also studied the way the TikTok algorithm works, why it pushes certain content over others, and optimized my future content accordingly.
How do you keep your TikTok followers engaged?
I try to respond to as many comments as I can on my videos and am always open to suggestions as to the content they want to see. It’s been great reading comments and direct messages from people saying that my content has helped them level up in their career development journeys. I hope to go on TikTok Live more consistently and encourage my followers to follow me on my other platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn.
You currently have over 8ok followers on TikTok, was there ever a major turning point for you and your channel?
I had been posting 2 TikToks a day for a month and hadn’t seen much traction. However, in mid-July, I started an “Interviewer-Interviewee” series, in which I gave concrete examples of how I think people should respond to certain questions in interviews to ensure a successful outcome. I received a lot of engagement from those videos and continued to post that type of content. I also uploaded a “How to send work emails like a boss” TikTok that currently has over 1.5m views that helped jumpstart my growth on the platform. Finally, I was incredibly grateful and humbled to have been featured on Buzzfeed’s Facebook and Instagram platforms, which has motivated me to keep providing the best content I can!
What are three pieces of advice that you would give to anyone currently unemployed?
First, I encourage you to do your research on what companies you’re interested in working for and get clear on what exactly you want. Think about your own strengths and align that with your interests. Knowing what kind of job you see yourself working in will allow you to have a more focused path to getting to your end goal. Second, I encourage you to focus on building out your network. Although slightly cliche, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool if used efficiently. Reach out to someone whose career you would like to emulate, and ask them to hop on a 10-minute call. You never know what can happen. Third, don’t get discouraged. Although easier said than done, be sure to set time aside every day towards your goal of getting a job. This can be applying to this amount of roles, or reaching out to this amount of people. It’s always okay to take a step back, reflect, take a break, and go back to the job search when you’re ready. Celebrate the little successes and reflect on how far you’ve come. This should get you motivated to continue seeking your dream job.
What is the most valuable piece of advice someone has given to you?
One valuable piece of advice that comes to mind is that “whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” As soon as we understand the true power our minds have, we can achieve literally anything. Moreover, I am incredibly appreciative of being surrounded by friends who support my journey and endeavors and push me to continue to reach new heights. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so it’s important for everyone to choose wisely!
Lastly, what about the future excites you?
I am incredibly grateful for my role at IBM, as it’s allowing me to grow professionally and personally, it challenges me intellectually, and my team is very supportive. I’m also super grateful for the platform I’ve developed on social media. I aim to stay consistent and post as much content as I can on TikTok and Instagram, and hope to motivate, inspire, and educate more and more people around the world!
A global lifestyle brand based in Kenya aiming to empower lives through their handcrafted products.
Photos taken from the Ubuntu Life Instagram account
Ubuntu Life is a company that recently caught my attention because of some of the amazing things it is doing for the local community. Ubuntu Life was started a few years ago by two pastors and friends, Jeremiah Kuria and Zane Wilemon. Out of a conversation about faith, growth, and empowerment they began to develop the idea of creating a center for children with disabilities. The Ubuntu Life Foundation was soon founded, which operates a special needs center and medical program in the area of Maai Mahiu, Kenya. The Ubuntu Life Foundation transforms the lives of children with conditions such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and severe autism by providing individual education and therapy. Additionally, the foundation’s healthcare professionals help to provide ongoing medication and medical care to close to 300 pediatric neurological patients.
After building the foundation, Jeremiah and Zane were asked by the mothers of these disabled children to fill their extra time, now that their children were receiving help with their care. The two friends utilized the spirit of entrepreneurship to solve another problem and developed plan for these women. In 2011, they started a sewing studio to employ the mothers of these disabled children or “Maker Mums,” as they refer to them.
Ubuntu Life was soon created, employing +280 full-time and part-time Maker Mums from the Ngong Hills in Kenya. These Maker Mums receive above-market wages and are also provided with health insurance, which has helped to break the cycle of poverty present in the area.
“Life throws to us good things and also challenging things. We need to celebrate together and win the battles together. That is Ubuntu. We need to live consciously that a life of purpose considers others.” -Jeremiah Kuria, Co-founder
Today, Ubuntu Life operates its foundation as well as three social enterprises, Café Ubuntu, a bottled water mission, and its product division, selling espadrilles, bracelets, masks, and along with other handcrafted items. Ubuntu Life is a great example of a company creating value on all fronts. Currently, in light of the COVID-19 epidemic, the company has stepped up to the plate yet again, donating a mask in Kenya for every mask purchased on their site.
I recently purchased this vegan, hand beaded bracelet and wear it everyday, a reminder to spread love as Ubuntu Life does everyday in Kenya and beyond.